Press Release 033/2009

Sustainable: From Economy to Architecture

Sparkassen-Stiftung Grants Environmental Awards to Young Scientists

Research for the environment: The Sparkassen-Stiftung grants awards for
PhD and diploma theses as well as for student projects.
(Photo by:

Environmental topics are as relevant to economists and architects at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as they are to scientists in computer, civil, and chemical engineers: Six projects of young scientists will now be granted awards in the total amount of EUR 10,000 by the Sparkassen-Stiftung (savings bank foundation). On Tuesday, April 28, 17 hrs, the awards will be handed over by the chairman of the executive board of Sparkasse Karlsruhe and the President’s Office of the university. The awards ceremony will take place at the Allgemeines Verfügungsgebäude (building 50.41, Adenauerring 20).

The first prize, EUR 5,000, goes to Dr. David Lorenz for his PhD thesis. It focuses on environmental issues in real estate management. In the OECD member states, the construction, operation, and demolition of buildings and plants reach a share of up to 40% in the consumption of energy and resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste volume. In his thesis, Lorenz proposes to extend the economic assessment of real estates to also cover sustainability criteria.

For her diploma thesis, the architect Xia Hua will be granted EUR 1,500: In contrast to the rather conventional Chinese plan for the campus of the University of Lingang, she presents a design based on social, ecological, and economic factors. Her proposal is intended to give students an understanding of an environmentally conscious way of life and to promote rethinking in China.

Another three diploma theses will be granted EUR 1,000 each by the Savings Bank Foundation. The information scientist Christian Hirsch studied pollutant concentration of the groundwater: For its area-wide monitoring, he compared various model- and data-based methods and eventually combined them. Sabine Michels developed proposals to help small and medium-sized municipalities reuse fallow railway areas in a reasonable manner. In addition to a general analysis, she studied the concrete example of Kinzigtal (Kinzig valley). Steffen Waglöhner investigated carbon monoxide oxidation in iron oxide catalyser: This is a major contribution to the further development of these catalysers that are gaining importance due to the limited resources of noble metal. Conventional catalysers, for instance, are made of platinum.

Moreover, eight students of architecture will be granted a recognition award in the total amount of EUR 500: In their project “Facing Climate Change”, the participants in the seminar “Theories of Landscape Architecture” researched how planners can contribute to an “ecological revolution”. Among others, the group conducted several case studies to find out how politics, industry, and planning in various regions of the world react to consequences of climate change. The results are compiled in a reader.

The environmental award of the Savings Bank Foundation is intended to acknowledge both excellent scientific work as well as projects serving public welfare in the broadest sense of the word and the solution of environmental problems. The faculties are invited to propose PhD theses, diploma theses, project studies, and other students’ papers.

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, member of the Helmholtz Association, and the Universität Karlsruhe. This merger will give rise to an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. In total, the KIT has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 700 million Euros. The KIT focuses on the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation.

The Karlsruhe institution is a leading European energy research center and plays a visible role in nanosciences worldwide. KIT sets new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists and attracts top scientists from all over the world. Moreover, KIT is a leading innovation partner of industry.

le, April 21, 2009


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Stabsabteilung Presse,
Kommunikation und Marketing
Tel.: +49 721 608-8121
Fax: +49 721 608-5681

The press release is available as a PDF file.